“So What?” to “So Who?” Bridge
Having established the importance of signatures for Modal-Fusion, I want to linger a moment on a Bridge that opens Jarrett’s signature “Jar” to all the names in history. Of course, in music a Bridge is the transitional middle-eighth between movements. I want to suggest that the Sound(Career)Track Project is Multi-Track, not only in its engagement of reading and writing along Ulmer’s quadraphonic bandwidth, but also in its opening of hitherto unexpected tracks within a given bandwidth.
The unconcealment of music within music and careers within careers results when one follows the zigzagging tracks of names folded within names. It is often difficult for students to linger on the Bridge, partly because they already “know” the names of the bands and those involved in the career path they are following. I don’t want to discount such investments, and yet I challenge student interests by asking them to take a further step to see who their who’s are invested in.
The development of bibliographic networks is in large part the Bridge that I help students linger on all semester, and it comes as no surprise to students that such an expectation comes up even when I turn the course towards bringing their music together with their careers.
Cultivating an interest in the who’s behind their favorite who’s is also something I stress is important to the “insider-language” of their careers. The Bridge that I want students to linger on consists in finding (when they can) specific who’s that have contributed to the lexicon of their current careers. The signatures and language of these innovators is something I want students to become attuned to, not only for this project but also in their broader professional outlook.
To be sure, many professional fields do not emphasis the names of figures as the humanities do. Students enrolled in Purdue’s numerous science and engineering programs, for example, often have little difficulty finding “insider-language” to work with, but struggle to locate naming networks from which to improvise. Nevertheless, these same students often identify strongly with specific who’s from their music. The transition from the various “So What’s?” of their profession to the multi-track “So Who’s?” is, in part, where I locate the goal of Modal-Fusion. In short, the Bridge is a “peopling” of the Sound(Career)Track Project where the students make a name for themselves through their signature and (potentially) discover the names of others. Sometimes students prefer not to reflect on the Bridge and stick to their beginning riffs, or what musicians call “the head.”
Sticking to the head can be cool, of course; in fact, to borrow a line from Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy tune, “The Crunge,” sometimes one simply asks, as Robert Plant playfully does, in this song without a Bridge, “Where’s that confounded bridge?”
Sometimes it’s good to remain Planted; sometimes it’s good to turn the Page.